reviews\ Oct 21, 2002 at 8:00 pm

Rocket Power Beach Bandits - PS2 - Review

Summertime – school is out and the Rocket Power team is looking forward to months of sand, sun and beach. Hold on! Someone’s put a damper in those plans. The sand, which makes up one of the attractions at the Ocean Shores community, is gone! Not only that, but apparently the water at the nearby lake is also gone.

What do those robots lurking about disguised as garbage cans have to do with it? They seem to belong to that slick businessman who owns Golem Industries. Could Golem Industries be behind this nefarious scheme?

Nickelodeon Rocket Power Beach Bandits, a PlayStation2 release from THQ, Nickelodeon Interactive and Evolution Games, is an arcade-style, three-dimensional romp through Ocean Shores in search of clues and answers to the mystery. It is quite linear in nature, though it does include numerous mini games, which are essential to collecting information as to the culprit behind the alarming developments.

You will have to keep that hockey stick ready to chuck a puck and nail robots (which can only be destroyed if they have their wheels out and are moving, not hunkered down), and skateboards and roller blades are always available for some half-pipe action, or just to scoot quickly throughout the game’s map boards.

As mentioned, there are several mini games along the way that are pertinent to the advancement of the game. Eddie: Prince of the Netherworld (a strange child with a mask and cape) will challenge Reggie Rocket to collect his missing masks. If she is able to do so under a certain time, then he will give her a clue to further the investigation. Strap on the roller blades, Reggie, it’s time to roll. Not only will Reggie have to perform jumps to accomplish the task, but she’ll have to grind a few rails in order to snag some of the masks.

While the skateboarding and rollerblading aspects play a big part, they are not the only tasks awaiting the intrepid quartet. Eddie’s clue will lead to 5-year-old Mackenzie Benders, who will only give her bus passes to the Rocket Power team if they win her a stuffed dinosaur at the shooting gallery. You’ll need 15 silver coins to enter the shooting gallery, and they are scattered about town.

For those who may be a little lost, and not sure where to go next, there is a convenient arrow at the top of the screen to point out the right direction. Not exactly the type of challenge an experienced player would want, but exactly the kind of help a younger player might need to keep moving through the game. Of course, how you get from point A to point B is up to you. You can take the easy way around, or get on that skateboard, use the jump to fly the fence.

The Rocket Power team stars in a cartoon series on Nickelodeon, and consists of four characters: Otto and Reggie Rocket, Twister Rodriguez and Sam “Squid” Dullard. Players can have any one of the four lead the pack throughout the mapboards, with the others showing up for the cutscenes that also propel the story along.

The control elements are very easy to learn. Graphically the game is wonderful, with bright lush, three-dimensional environments and characters, and a few appealing special effects thrown in. The sound is also terrific.

The game also features multiplayer games, so more than one can go head-to-head in mini game competitions.

Rocket Power Beach Bandits is a solid game that also comes with a pair of bonus features, which includes two full Rocket Power television episodes and a sneak peak at other Nickelodeon games.

This is a game that is obviously geared for younger players, though it is rated for Everyone. It is bright, colorful, and entertaining. This is one of those games that has a light premise, plenty of challenges and wonderfully brings television characters to life in a well-designed arcade adventure.

Gameplay: 7.8
There are load times between areas of the mapboard, and cutscenes also slow down the flow of the game. Should you wish to change mode of transportation, the game is interrupted for that as well. Save points before a challenge help players avoid repeating segments of the game. The game is linear in nature, which cuts down on replayability though you can always try to beat best scores in the mini games.

Graphics: 8.5
The three-dimensional world looks very nice, and the animations are excellent. Eric Golem swaggers with the self-assurance of an underhanded businessman who thinks he will never get caught, and the Rocket Power team moves well. Some of the characters do have a similar look in this 3D world, and the environments are not fully interactive.

Sound: 8
The voice characterizations are solid, and the sound effects play out well. The musical score offers a nice adjunct to the graphical elements.

Difficulty: Easy
Some of the mini games will provide a challenge to younger players, but this is definitely a game that is geared for that crowd. Older players may enjoy the look and feel of the game, but will likely breeze through it.

Concept: 8
Control elements, and player interface are kept simple. The story is intriguing enough to keep players’ attention. This is a nicely designed game.

Multiplayer: 7.5
Head-to-head competition is offered in this game, which is quite nice. The game uses a split screen to let players directly compete against each other.

Overall: 8
The linear nature of the game is a bit of a drawback, cutting down on replayability, but the game looks good and plays very well. The world is bright and colorful, and the plot is light and amusing. The Rocket Power team comes alive in this three-dimensional adventure, which has an emphasis on fun.


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